2/9/17 — Epic® or maybe not. Sometimes.

9 February 2017 — Biggest news right now is TOO MUCH snow and wind and whatever else have you at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the Tetons; here’s the official statement this morning: Due to unforseen events from last nights storm Teton Village has been left without power. As a result, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort WILL NOT BE IN OPERATION THIS MORNING. We are working hard to resolve the problem and apologize for any inconvience this may cause. We will keep you posted on our operating status as events unfold. We thank you for your patience and understanding with this situation…on the other hand, snow giving a much-needed boost to ski areas in parts of the east; Mountain Creek NJ and Camelback PA faring very well this morning…move a little north and we find Elk Mountain PA at 100% open for the first time this season. This is an underrated area that consistently serves up some of the best conditions in the northeast, and I’m including a lot of Vermont ski areas with that assessment…13″ of fresh snow in the past couple days across the upper midwest, you can see it in the photo above sent by Lutsen Mountains in northern Minnesota; they’re now talking about being open through the end of April, that’s fantastic…and fantastic news out of central Maine where up-and-down Eaton Mountain will have their Lower Bowl ski tows spinning this Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 pm with $15 tix — that’s the first time in this decade, as far as I recall. This is a hill that’s been through some tough times, new family ownership about 10 years or so found themselves with a Frankenstein electrical system, and then a nearly tragic groomer accident, well they picked themselves up by the bootstraps and looks like this weekend we’ll have lift served skiing again. That’s simply wonderful in my book…Oregon’s Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort closed today, the weather is positively nasty and it looks like the roads are unsafe…news from St. Moritz, where the World Championships are underway, kind of a quiet day but for the ladies downhill training run, Ilka Stuhec was fastest. Both ladies and mens downhill scheduled for tomorrow. Ski world still buzzing about the Canadian men in the Super G, even Mikaela Shiffrin got in on the action, posing for a fun photo with Guay and Osborne-Paradis…still snowing in New England, Peak Resorts sez 8″ so far at Mount Snow VT, 5″ and more on the way at Attitash NH…shout out and sincere “thank you” to all of you regular readers who waited patiently for a report while I was skiing in Colorado…have to say if I never hear the word Epic® again I won’t miss it…favorite day again was at small but mighty Ski Cooper in Leadville, only 1200′ vertical but the snow is incredible and the vibe is very laid back. Much different attitude than Keystone — which I have to be honest this was my first time at Keystone — and it became readily apparent to me why they have so many collisions, despite their wide and numerous slopes. I saw snowboarders straightline blind crests on intermediate slopes, and I saw skiers jump wildly across a junction on the Schoolmarm trail! If you’re familiar with Keystone you’ll realize why that’s a huge problem. Anyway, the unsafe skiing & boarding was nothing short of…Epic®…spent another day up the road at Arapahoe Basin, still one of my all-time faves and really an intermediate skier and boarder’s paradise. Intermediates can ride the Lenawee lift and more or less point themselves in any direction and the results will be wonderful. Experts have the Pally chair which serves up nasty, gnarly inbounds terrain for those who can bring it. Beginners have a fantastic learning area with their own chairlift; just about the only skiers who are left out a bit at A-Basin are the lower novices, who tend to find the green circle trails a bit steeper than greens elsewhere…now back to Keystone, lest I sound all gloom and doom, have to say that aside from a minority of the clientele and the lunacy of the Epic stuff and madness of the base area, Keystone is a wonderful ski area with some terrific terrain and a really admirable lift system. One thing that struck me is their beginner programs — they built the carpet learning area halfway up the mountain, so all the grommets get a gondy ride up and then download after the lesson. They’ve also got the same sort of deal for novices, except they go all the way to the summit and use the Ranger chair, which is excellent. I like the idea of taking newbies up the mountain, exposing them to the full experience rather than some carpet lift stuck down next to a parking lot. So indeed I have to give the devil his due, every now and then Vail Resorts Inc. does something, uh, nevermind. In case you missed it, I put together a fun little video — no sound needed — to showcase some really fun and virtually ignored trails around the upper part of the River Run Gondola….

Photo above courtesy Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota